Ghosts of Christmas Presents Past (Part 2)

Posted by Shades Mountain Student Ministries | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sorry for the delay in continuing this two part series. The flu and Buckley chewing through our internet cable were both detracting factors. 

Christmas, Macaulay Culkin Style - 1993
At the time I was not allowed to enter movie theaters. This was consistent with quite a strict conservative upbringing. Among other things I was not allowed to play with playing cards, chew Big League Bubble and listen to Rock & Roll (this included Christian Rock & Roll, different lyrics yet same demonic beat).

See what I mean?

The story starts much earlier though. When I was a kids living in Lynchburg, VA there was this theater that showed movies that had been edited. It took all the cursing out and bad scenes. Our family went to 2 movies there. Rescuers Down Under and Home Alone. Needless to say seeing the "edited" version of Rescuers was the exact same as seeing the "Unedited" version.

Now Home Alone was a different story.

We all know that movie by heart and know that Kevin McCallister (as played by Macaulay Culkin in the role of a lifetime) has a little bit of a potty mouth and the "edited" version was more appropriate for our family.When the movie came out on VHS we bought it, but when we sat down to watch it as a family all the potty words were intact and we stopped it and it was hidden in a drawer in the house, never to be seen again (though I searched for it diligently).

Fast forward several years later.

I'm no fool about pop-culture and know that a second Home Alone has come out and was in the theaters. Well of course there's no chance that we'll go see it, but a year later it was out on VHS and I got a glimpse of it at a friend's house.

Not only is it filled with the same mischievous booby-taps but there's this new thing that Kevin has that amazed me the moment I laid my eyes on it. It was called...a Talkboy.

For those unfamiliar with the Talkboy and it's capabilities here is what Wikipedia has to say:
The device itself consisted of a handheld cassette recorder with an integrated grip handle for easy carrying, and an extendable microphone. The function controls were much like any other portable cassette recorder of the day, complete with play, stop, fast forward, rewind, pause, and record buttons. Additionally, and most distinctively, a switch which toggled between normal and slow speed settings for playback and recording was also included. This feature gave the user the ability to manipulate the speed, and in turn, pitch, of the recorded sound to act as a voice changer.
There's no need to tell you the possibilities that having a Talkboy would bring about. In the movie Kevin uses his Talkboy to 1) rents a hotel room in a 5 star hotel, 2) make the hotel staff think an inflatable clown is his uncle Frank bathing "Your're cooking Frankie." and 3) makes the hotel staff think Uncle Frank is upset and unload his Tommy gun on them.

So simply put, the Talkboy was not a Christmas wish but rather all life as I knew it depended on me getting that Talkboy.

So, much like Macaulay Culkin, I set forth my plan to get the Talkboy for Christmas.

My first  wave of my plan was the subtle dropping of hints. I would look for creative ways of slipping my need for a Talkboy into the conversation. We'd be having dinner or watching television and somehow I'd find a way for the use of the Talkboy to advance our current situation. Things like, "Mom, are you having a hard time remembering your grocery list? You know I talk boy would come in handy right about now."

Needless to say my hints were anything but "subtle."

I knew this called for stronger action. And I had just the plan.

Every year, at about Thanksgiving, something would come in the mail that would be the inspiration of most of my Christmas dreams. That's right, the Sears Wishbook Catalog.

Many an afternoon you could find me and my brother sitting on the couch in the living room. We'd thumb through it playing that game where each of us get to pick one thing on each page (I've now graduated to the Sky Mall Magazine).

We were flipping through the pages and just happen to turn up...the Talkboy. It was for real and it was in this catalog.

I got on our family's computer and printed out a little voice bubble, you know the kind in comicbooks?

I wrote on the bubble, "Buy Me For Jonathan!" and pasted it in the catalog as if it were coming out of the speaker. I put the catalog back in its place and waited for my dad to go through the catalog and come across that certain page and be amazed at what this Talkboy was telling him to do, he'd then call my mother in amazement to come look at it, they'd then run to the store, buy it, give it to me and it would be a merry Christmas.

The only problem was that my dad never looked through the catalog. I waited and waited but nothing. It was as if he didn't care what toys were in there at all. So I finally was forced to be blatant about it.

I called my dad over and asked him to look at the catalog with me. He sat down on the couch with me and, like planned, came across the page with the Talkboy.

Needless to say he was greatly impressed with my creativity and as Christmas morning rolled around my hard work payed off. The Talkboy was mine...all mine.

I'm sad to say that the Talkboy didn't change my life. I never thwarted crooks or reserved a room in a 5 star hotel. In fact, the fondest memory I have of that Talkboy was the arduous path I took to get it. I guess sometimes the journey is better than the destination.

Comments (2)

Great minds think alike. I got a girl version of the talkboy. It was pink; I wasn't too happy on the color. I used mine for very dorky purposes, however. I would sit in the bathroom by my heater and record myself reading Shel Silverstein poems from his book Where the Sidewalk Ends. Nerd, I know.

Wow...I should have known that the "lynch" in lynchburg referred to the punishment for going to unedited movies.

Although I can't say I wasn't amused by your typo of "booby taps" instead of "booby traps". I don't remember any booby taps in Home Alone 2, but they may have been edited out of the version I saw...

Great post!